When your heart breaks
I had sung Frank E. Graeff’s hymn, “Does Jesus Care?” many times before and always felt comforted by its grace and beauty. But the words really came to life after our one-yearold son Martin passed away. Martin had always been frail, from the day he was born, half an hour after his twin brother. They were born in Brazil two months early and had to be on life support. His brother quickly overcame that difficult start in life, but not Martin. He had a heart defect and underwent surgery at six weeks, which he struggled to recover from.
We pleaded with God, mobilized a prayer chain, followed every bit of advice from doctors, and did all we could to sustain his little life, but it was becoming increasingly apparent Martin would not be with us for long.
Then somebody received a vision in prayer. “Martin is going to be healed,” this person said excitedly. “I saw him running in fields of green. He was so happy.” But we knew it was a vision of our son in heaven to prepare us for his homegoing, a vision of the world that was calling Martin to leave his suffering behind and where he would be free from pain and hardship.
A few days later, God took him peacefully as he lay in his mother’s lap. We knew it was coming; God had prepared our hearts. But it was still heartbreaking. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children and bury them in little caskets in a foreign country.
People often ask us, “Where was God when your son needed Him? Couldn’t He have healed Martin so he would still be with you today?” Of course we know He could have. But that’s not the point.
The point is that God was there; holding us every step of the way, providing peace, grace, and even joy in the knowledge that our little one was safe in His arms. What’s more, we will see Martin again when we too cross that river and throw out our anchors on the shores of eternity.
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye” To the dearest on earth to me? And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks— Is it aught to Him? Does He see? Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.
—Frank E. Graeff (1860–1919)